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Beginner Squeeks

John

New Member
Messages
8
Trying to get back my technique after a 60 year layoff (yes 60 years), I am having terrrible trouble with squeeks. My tutor and I are having a summer break but I promised him I would be much improved by September. However, with more practice, the squeeks are getting worse rather than better. Perhaps I am doing something basically wrong. The squeeks occur mainly on intervals of a forth or more but sometimes just when crossing the octave. I know it's difficult to advise without being there, but perhaps someone has some basic advice. Volunteers?
John
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,011
Is your sax in good condition? My first tenor behaved as you describe and I had to have it re padded. After that it played great for ten years or more. It sounds as if you have an embouchure problem. It will take time to get your chops back and intervals of a fourth are quite wide for a beginner.

Jim.
 

John

New Member
Messages
8
Is your sax in good condition? My first tenor behaved as you describe and I had to have it re padded. After that it played great for ten years or more. It sounds as if you have an embouchure problem. It will take time to get your chops back and intervals of a fourth are quite wide for a beginner.

Jim.
Thanks for the comment. Yes, I believe the horn is in good shape. When I picked it up again in April (after 60 yrs) I had it thoroughly reconditioned with new pads, etc. I don't believe it has deteriorated much since then. The embouchure is another question. Yes, it is taking me a lot longer to reestablish that area than I thought it would. Having been singing thru most of the intervening years, my music theory is probably better than it ever was, but technique is slow. I guess I'll just keep practicing. I noticed that I was better today. I must have had a really bad off day yesterday.
Regards,
 

Rawr

Member
Messages
31
It's all posture and embouchure (in my opinion), unless the sax is broke. Maybe have someone look for leaks. Some advise, your posture/air flow plays a good part in squeeking. When you sit, I was taught to not have anywhere to rest your back so you can't lean back. Sit up straight. That good stuff. This will also allow more air. Perhaps you are accidentally hitting one of the many side keys? And embouchure, you should try loosening or tightening. Often times, people do think that they are squeeking because it's the sax, but really the problem is the side keys, and this occurs often. You accidentally hit one of them, if you see what I'm saying. Try tightening when reaching for those high notes and as you progress more start loosening. I'm sorry all this is sloppy, it is very late and I am very tired. That's also the reason for having it all unorganized. If something doesn't make since, let me know.
 

John

New Member
Messages
8
It's all posture and embouchure (in my opinion), unless the sax is broke. Maybe have someone look for leaks. Some advise, your posture/air flow plays a good part in squeeking. When you sit, I was taught to not have anywhere to rest your back so you can't lean back. Sit up straight. That good stuff. This will also allow more air. Perhaps you are accidentally hitting one of the many side keys? And embouchure, you should try loosening or tightening. Often times, people do think that they are squeeking because it's the sax, but really the problem is the side keys, and this occurs often. You accidentally hit one of them, if you see what I'm saying. Try tightening when reaching for those high notes and as you progress more start loosening. I'm sorry all this is sloppy, it is very late and I am very tired. That's also the reason for having it all unorganized. If something doesn't make since, let me know.
Thanks, Rawr.
Yes, I am guilty of leaning back in my chair. I'll try sitting up and see if that helps. I know that I have to develop my embouchure, it is coming along slowly. The side keys are a good idea--I may be hitting them by accident. These are all good ideas, Rawr. Thanks again.
-John
 
Messages
69
It could also be your mouthpiece!!! A lot of people don't realize that mouthpieces can break too!!

Also, are you using a soft enough reed? I like 2.5's for tenor and alto, but I use 5's on bari. Soft reeds help A LOT!!
Do you have Skype? Maybe you could Skype with one of the Cafesax players, so that one of us can see what's going on with your sax :D

And Baylor, the reason that you're taught not to lean back is because your diaphragm also expands out your back about 30%...
 

John

New Member
Messages
8
Hey Aubrianna,
Thanks for the input. After sitting up, avoiding the side keys and really working on my embouchure, the squeeks are sharply reduced.
Posture seems to be much more important to the sax player than to the singer. I've done a lot of singing over the last 60 years and seem to have gotten away with a lot of poor posture.
Regards, John
 

compound

Member
Messages
457
Hi John,
Try some of the new synthetic reeds, i think you will find they can help a lot. They are very consistant. Best of luck,
Rob. :thumb:
 

Rawr

Member
Messages
31
I thought'd help John. The side keys get a lot of people, and posture hurts air flow which causes squeeks. :)

Have fun,
Rawr
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
You need to play with a frown so that your lips wrap around the mouthpiece and air does not escape. Make sure that your reed is moist before you start and fixed carefully on the mouthpiece, so that air cannot leak out. Also adjust your strap and the angle of the neck so that the mouthpiece sits comfortably in your mouth. All the above can influence squeaking. I would not recommend sitting as it reduces your flexibility.

It sounds as if progress is already being made, so just keep going!
Kind regards
Tom
 

John

New Member
Messages
8
You need to play with a frown so that your lips wrap around the mouthpiece and air does not escape. Make sure that your reed is moist before you start and fixed carefully on the mouthpiece, so that air cannot leak out. Also adjust your strap and the angle of the neck so that the mouthpiece sits comfortably in your mouth. All the above can influence squeaking. I would not recommend sitting as it reduces your flexibility.

It sounds as if progress is already being made, so just keep going!
Kind regards
Tom
Thanks Tom,
Proper adjustment is good advice. I'm not so sure about the "frown" as I really have to remember to keep "upbeat". <smile> Seriously, I understand about being sure to keep the mouthpiece fully surrounded by the mouth to keep the sound in. I haven't really tried standing while playing. As a lifelong (81 yrs.) sitter, I'm constitutionally opposed to standing, but I guess it's worth a try.
"Chord"ially, John
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,950
I must confess to be constantly puzzled as to how wrinkling the brow affects the embouchure. Oh well, must be something USAnians do.
 

John

New Member
Messages
8
I must confess to be constantly puzzled as to how wrinkling the brow affects the embouchure. Oh well, must be something USAnians do.
Hey Nick, I don't know how you can wrinkle your brow without affecting the embouchure. When you wrinkle your brow, the whole of your face below the cheek bones moves upward. Do you Brits somehow do this without moving the rest of your face? Must be some of that "keeping a stiff upper lip" that you love so much. <grinning from ear to ear> Now if I spent as much time practicing as I do on cafesaxophone, I might begin to improve. But thank you for the laugh.
-John
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,011
There is a body of opinion that squeaks are more often down to faulty embouchure, than reeds or mouthpieces.

From the Reed Doctor "Most squeaks occur because of a slack or badly place lip"

Jim.
 

BrianJoeSandy

Member
Messages
269
There is a body of opinion that squeaks are more often down to faulty embouchure, than reeds or mouthpieces.

From the Reed Doctor "Most squeaks occur because of a slack or badly place lip"
So is there anybody out there who can play without squeaks and also can confirm this by producing squeaks at will by this method? It would be good to hear from you.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
So is there anybody out there who can play without squeaks and also can confirm this by producing squeaks at will by this method? It would be good to hear from you.
I can do this on my PPT. To stop them I make sure the lig is right, this helps quite a bit, but the real clue - on that mouthpiece for me, is to squeeze from the sides as well as top/bottom.
 
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